January 8, 2008
A Foundation of Joy
By Zoë Elmore
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 (NIV)
I’ve struggled with dyslexia and ADD since childhood, and for the most part I don’t allow myself to dwell in the land of defeat and discouragement as I try to concentrate and focus on my home and work responsibilities. However, one day last week everything I attempted was either backward or forgotten about altogether. That may not seem too distressing, but with three part time jobs its imperative I stay on task and do things correctly. It was a day of total frustration and embarrassment; the kind of day you pray that the floor will open up and swallow you whole. I left my office discouraged and defeated, wanting nothing more than to put this day and myself to bed.
After dinner I put on my pajamas, slid under the covers, and settled in for a little bedtime reading. I came across the most interesting story on Thomas Edison, a story that helped put an end to my pity-party. It reminded me that trying times are a normal part of this life, and they present an opportunity to strengthen my foundation of joy.
Thomas Edison invented over one thousand things in addition to the phonograph he is famous for. As amazing as his inventions are, I was particularly interested to discover that this man of genius and invention struggled with dyslexia. Despite this, he found ways to learn from his failures.
Did you know that in 1914 his laboratory caught fire and burned to the ground while eight fire companies watched helplessly? The next morning as he looked at the remaining rubble,
His words pierced me like a knife, as I thought about my defeated and discouraged attitude of the day. Where I had lost one day’s work through a computer glitch, this man had lost a lifetime of inventions. Where I had chosen to see the remaining rubble of the day, this man chose to see the future that awaited him. When I longed to hide under the covers, this man took joy in the good that would come about from his loss. Thomas Edison’s statement sums up the truth about spiritual growth perfectly: trials are the foundation of joy for spiritual maturity. We grow spiritually only from and through the trials that arrive on our doorstep.
If you’re feeling frustrated, defeated and discouraged by the trials in your life today, I want to encourage you to look beyond the rubble to what lies ahead. It can be difficult to face our trials with the kind of spirit that sees great value in disaster, but that’s what the Lord expects from us if we are to be women who walk on their foundation of joy. Here is a poem that reflects this attitude so well. While the author is unknown, the poet obviously knows the formula for the foundation of joy.
It’s sometimes very difficult
for us to understand
the wisdom and the love behind
the things that God has planned.
But we wouldn’t have the rainbow
If we didn’t have the rain;
We wouldn’t know the pleasure
If we never tasted pain.
We wouldn’t love the sunrise
If we hadn’t felt the night;
And we wouldn’t know our weakness
If we hadn’t sensed God’s might.
We couldn’t have the springtime
or the yellow daffodil
if we hadn’t experienced
the winter’s frosty chill.
And though the brilliant sunshine
is something God has made.
He knew too much could parch our souls
so He created shade.
So God’s given us a balance:
Enough joys to keep us glad,
Enough tears to keep us humble,
Enough good to balance bad.
And if you’ll trust in Him you’ll see
Though yesterday brought sorrow,
The clouds will part and dawn will bring
A happier tomorrow.
Dear Lord, You are good and everything You bring into my life is for my good and Your glory. I thank You for burning away my mistakes and providing an opportunity to start anew each day, just as Your mercies are new each morning. Help me to see beyond the rubble and to You for the lessons necessary to grow my faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Worship: Nearing the Heart of God by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer
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Ask the Lord to reveal the lessons necessary to grow your faith. Write them in your journal.
Record your spiritual growth on a spiritual doorpost, just like you record your child’s physical growth on a physical doorpost.
What rubble is holding you back? What keeps you from displaying a mature spirit?
Why are you focused on the rubble and not the revelation the Lord longs to share with you?
Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)
Psalm 25:5, "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day."(NAS)
Psalm 31:3, "For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me."(NAS)
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